Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 3 – Ruler

Welcome to the third block reveal for the Sew Let’s QAL.

ButtonThis QAL is brought to you by Partners in Design: Where Friends and Fabric Meet.

Partners in designPresenting: Ruler

tunaquilts 1a

This block is 12.5″ (unfinished). I will iron and applique my numbers in place but the block will be oriented this way.

This block was designed by Sherry Shish of Powered by Quilting. You can download the free pattern here on her blog from now until September 24th, 2019. After then, the patterns may not be available anymore. Don’t delay, download them today. 

You may  notice that my block is oriented a bit different from Sherry’s pattern. I just turned it and placed my numbers to reflect how my ruler is. 

tunaquilts 2a

I still need to iron and applique the numbers in place but I’ll measure them so they are even before doing so. If you look close, you’ll see the numbers are made from the cactus fabric that I’m adding to each block.

Tips and Tricks to Constructing this Block

This is a challenging block because you sew with small strips and there’s lots of  seams to match. To help you be successful, I have several tips to make it even easier. Be sure to check out the other bloggers listed below for more tips.

  1.  Read Tu-Na’s Tried and True Easy Steps to Making Accurately Pieced Blocks 
  2. Iron and starch your fabric before you cut. If you do it correctly, you don’t need to starch your pieces anymore. In fact, you shouldn’t spray your pieces after they are cut. Use these easy steps: Spray your starch on your fabric and let it sit until almost dry. You want it to absorb into the fibers before heat is applied. Once it’s almost dry, iron. According to one of my quilting teachers, “If you hear it sizzle, it means you’ve now successfully applied the starch to the bottom of your iron.” This is not the sound you want to hear. 
  3. Cut your fabric only after it’s cooled. This helps prevent shrinkage. 
  4. Press each seam open as you go. It will be so much easier. Don’t wait until the end of the unit.
  5. Use a leader or ender or scrap of fabric at the beginning and end of each seam. This is important with today’s modern machines that have automatic scissors that cut the thread. When you first start sewing, it takes a couple of stitches for the thread on the spool and the thread on the bobbin to hook together. Without sewing onto a scrap, those first couple of stitches in your seam are not very secure.

    tunaquilts 6a

    I use my scraps multiple times.

  6. Alternate sewing of strips in each row  from top to bottom. This helps ensure your ends will be straight. But don’t worry, each unit has about half an inch of play so you can trim it to straighten.
  7. I sewed 1/8″ from the edge to secure the seams so it didn’t fray or pull apart and to keep the subunit from stretching. With so many seams, these can become problems.

    tunaquilts 7a

    You can see my stitching 1/8″ from the edge (the arrows are pointing to them). I started stitching at least half an inch from the seam line. I did find that one of the subunits pictured above was missing that stitching before I sewed it in place.

  8. Slow down. Take your time. Read each section well. Usually, I would say read the whole pattern before starting but that may be confusing for this pattern. Read each section before beginning. Check it off as you complete it. Then go onto the next.
  9. Measure, measure, measure!

See These Hosts for More Construction Tips

Look for bi-weekly inspiration from these bloggers.

Sandy @ SandyStar Designs

Abbie @ Sparkle On!

Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

Jennifer @ The Inquiring Quilter

In addition to those listed above, look for inspiration from these bloggers during: 

Segment 1: March 12th to May 21st

Sandra @ Sandra Healy Designs

Kathleen @ Kathleen McMusing

Quilt Hosts

Look for bi-weekly inspiration from these bloggers as they turn their blocks into a quilt.

Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting

Sherry @ Powered by Quilting — Designer of this block

April @ JANDA Bend Quilts

Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts

Join this QAL

You can join in anytime. Every other Tuesday, a new block will be released until all 13 blocks have been released. You can find the full schedule on my post here. This QAL will be divided into three segments. Segment one will consist of 5 blocks.

Share a picture of your block on our Facebook page, or on Instagram with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL. We want to see them. A prize will be awarded at the end of each segment.

Segment 1: March 12th to May 21st

Block patterns will be free from the designers and available on their blogs until the date of the Grand Prize announcement September 24th, 2019.

Enter to Win

Entering to win the prizes below is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Everyone (You must be 18 to be able to enter to win prizes) gets to participate because International entries are welcome! You do NOT need to have a blog to enter.
  2. Make all of the 5 blocks in this segment provided to you free of charge for this event. Use your own fabrics and embellish them as you like. If entering the giveaway, the blocks should definitely be recognizable as made from these free patterns.  Take one picture with all of them included.
  3. Post a picture of all of your blocks before 11:59 PM EST, May 20th, 2019 either on the Facebook page, or on Instagram with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL, or on the hosts  blog Linky party at the end of each segment.  You are welcome to post a picture on each of the sources but it will only count as one entry.

Segment 1 Prizes and Sponsors

Prize sponsors

  • A newly released item from Omnigrid® (a Prym Company)
    Large Folding Cutting Kit that includes 18 x 24″ mat, a 3″ x 18″ ruler and a 45 mm rotary cutter
  • Timeless Treasures Tonga Treat Strip Jr. “Orchid” -20 pc 2 1/2″ strip pack
  • 2 Shabby Fabrics Vintage Blessings printed table runner patterns and a packet of Sunflower laser-cut appliqués (small.)

more prizes

  • One Free PDF pattern (up to $10.00) from each of these “Partners in Design”

Sandra Healy Designs   Janda Bend Quilts  Powdered by Quilting 


You choose what you want to make: A quilt or several smaller projects. This is the only block that will be this large. The rest will be 12.5″ unfinished. We have several hosts who will offer suggestions as to what you can do with your blocks if you don’t want to make a quilt.

Not sure what to do? Just start making the blocks and decide along the way. A grand prize will be offered for a completed quilt top or several projects that use all of the 13 blocks. 

I’ll be making several projects for my sewing room.

Don’t Miss Out on My Previous Sew Let’s QAL Posts

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Introduction

Tu-Na Quilts: On Pins and Needles – A look at my fabric selection. It varies with each segment of the QAL.

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 1— Sewing Machine

Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 2 — Quilt Along Mug Block

tunaquilts 3a

I am using cactus fabric in each of my blocks. 

What I Learned Today:

  1. Duct tape works the same as Elmer’s glue to pull out cactus spins stuck in fingers. I didn’t learn this from personal experience but our tour guide at the Desert Botanical Gardens told us this. 
  2. The Desert is in bloom. I’ve been posting some of the pics on my facebook page here.
  3. Chairing a Bed Turning is a lot of work. 
  4. I learned that antique quilts have a story.
  5. All quilts have a story and if we don’t write it down (at least label the quilt) those stories will be lost forever.
  6. Uploading a video on YouTube takes a long time. You can see my AZ group’s first Bed Turning event here.

Question: Have you ever seen a Bed Turning? I’ve seen several at larger quilt shows and a couple at local quilt shows. I thought it was time our group offered it.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again.

Karen, Tu-Na Quilts

Linking to:

Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

19 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: Sew Let’s QAL Block 3 – Ruler

  1. rl2b2017

    Hi Karen! I haven’t been on FB much lately, so thank you for mentioning your page with the cacti photos. I just love seeing them! Your Ruler block out well, and I appreciate all the tips. Happy Tuesday to you. ~smile~ Roseanne


  2. Pingback: Sew Let’s QAL Block 3! – Powered by Quilting

  3. karenfae

    what interesting tips on the cactus spines! don’t you think it would be hard to do that with duct tape thought – wouldn’t you have to press the tape to the area and press to get it to stick I wonder that sounds painful! I’d rather try the glue I think lol
    I have seen a bed turning and I agree it looks like a lot of work


  4. Pingback: Sew Let's QAL, Block 3 - Sandra Healy Designs Quilt Pattern Designer

  5. dezertsuz

    I have seen a bed turning, by Mary Kay Waldvogel at our local Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild show a couple of years ago. It was wonderful! As a quilt historian, and a TN resident, she is so knowledgeable about the antique quilts. Thanks so much for your tips on this block. I trust Sherry’s patterns, from past experience, but it’s good to see what you did and thought as you sewed.


  6. Leslie Schmidt

    All of your blocks look great together, Karen. I was wondering how you were going to sneak in that cactus fabric! This is quite a challenging block, but your hints sound as though they will be very helpful. I’m not on Facebook, so I can’t see your photos. I remember how beautiful your previous photos were, so I imagine your new ones are just as terrific. We are supposedly going to have a blizzard here in Minnesota this week, with maybe 8″ of snow! I feel sorry for the robins and the plants that are struggling to emerge.


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